The Problem Of Stress In Education

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Exams, Homework, Just normal Classwork… Do we really need all of this stress? Surely there’s no need for all of these stress-causing parts of education? “…They also interviewed school staffers—like teachers and counsellors. They found that 48 percent of students reported having at least three hours of homework every night, and 49 percent reported ‘a great deal of stress’ on a daily basis.” “…Asked what was contributing to pupils’ mental health issues, more than four in five (81 per cent) said testing and exams, and more than two-thirds (67 per cent) cited school pressure to do well.” So the question is; if school is worth all of this.

The amount of Homework that is handed out is just too much, pupils can’t handle the amount of stress that can come along with it. Homework causes stress by; pupils having to put time aside to work on homework, then pupils have to work through the homework and if they are unable to get the answer for multiple questions, that can harm their confidence, then when they hand it in and get a low mark it can really damage self-esteem and over all confidence. Homework just simply isn’t healthy for pupils now, and it’s disturbing how much it can affect people without anything being done about it. The average number of hours of homework given out each week in China (the highest) is just under 14 hours, but the UK is only 5 hours (Italy 9 hours, USA 6 hours, Finland 3 hours). Even although PISA assessments in China scores are about 570 and the UK is 500. Italy has more hours of homework per week, but a lower score by around 20 than the UK in PISA assessments, around 10 as well for the USA, and what’s amazing is that Finland, with the least amount of hours of homework on average on the graph, has the 2nd highest score (+30 or 40 more than the UK), just under China. So the country with one of the lowest amounts of homework in the world is the one scoring above Italy, the US and the UK, all of which have relatively large hours of homework. Some primary schools have even banned homework and instead opted for 20-minute reading.

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Exams are a huge, and probably the biggest in some cases the reasons behind a shocking amount of stress. Statistics show that the number of counselling sessions were provided to teenagers has went up by over 1,000 (21%). If a pupil gets a low result in an exams, they’ll probably just think they’re not smart, and will lose a lot of confidence even if it is a close pass. Also the amount of pressure that teachers and parents can put on a pupil before exams can simply overwhelm the pupil which can lead to even more stress and anxiety. Personally, I feel like most students probably have a fear of failure, because they feel if they do bad in an exam or even an assessment/test, they’ll do horribly with everything academic in life. Even although this probably doesn’t happen that doesn’t stop students being stressed about the constant fear of failure, and the bad image that schools give exams. Signs of exam stress can be losing touch with friends, feeling sad, feeling overwhelmed, being unmotivated or even getting stomach aches, biting nails or a lot of fidgeting which can lead to students actually being less likely to study and prepare.

Even Classwork can be too much stress for pupils, 45% of teens say they’re stressed ‘all the time’ which can be down to school in most cases. For example, teens may get constantly pestered about studying for exams, doing homework, just revising over work, and may get bombarded with tasks to complete which can just be too much work and stress for school pupils. Students may have a really heavy workload, and can’t deal with the piles of work that they should be doing over a few months into a few weeks. There might be too little ‘down time’, because down time helps with breaking up lessons and also slightly relieves stress, but a lack of it just muddles everything up in someone’s mind. Even a lack of sleep can negatively affect someone during class, which can be their own fault or it could be too much time spent studying or doing homework for schools. Sometimes a lack of support during classes can be an issue, over time schools have gotten better at giving pupils the support they need (back a few years ago, support in schools would be less than now), but sometimes there just isn’t enough staff to help the pupils who are in need of help. Classes being generally just too hard can be really stressful for pupils, it might be due to classes moving too fast for the students, or just being difficult to get through. Routine in schools are very helpful, but when a routine is broken, it’s disastrous and can lead to pupils not coping well with a class.

In conclusion, maybe schools need some changes, maybe they need a reform, maybe they are fine the way they are and pupils just don’t try hard enough. But one thing is that pupils are currently more stressed in school than they possibly ever have been. It’s not healthy for high school pupils to be under so much stress to study, so much pressure to do well, so much devastation when they fall short of doing well. Is it really all worth it? In my personal opinion. It’s not. 

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